‘This meeting [17.11.2012] of the Social Work Action Network (North East) notes its solidarity with Summer Abu Zayed a former student of Durham University’s Community and Youth Work programme in her essential work with the children, young people and families of Palestine under what is currently the fourth day of a bombardment which has left at least 52 people including 11 children dead.
The meeting also notes its solidarity with North East support organisations offering humanitarian and human rights support to Palestine and refutes any suggestions made that such humanitarian and social support of the Palestinian people is in any sense anti-semitic.’
This message of support was subsequently sent to Summer, who sent this gracious reply in the last few days:
‘Dear Sarah, Anne, SWAN members and all,
Thank you very much for your great support and for spreading awareness about the current Israeli violations of the UN conventions and human rights of civilians and children in Palestine. I also would like to show gratitude and respect for your understanding and appreciation for the importance of APPLIED social sciences in making changes in the conflict areas such as Gaza Strip. I have been using the childrens & youth work tools to debrief and ease the suffering of the children around me such as discussion, drawing, colouring, role-playing, singing and telling stories, with a consideration for family atmospheres of course. This experience helped the children to form a different perception about bombardments and airstrikes, and move on from panic stage to making fun of the terrifying shells at some points. In a conflict area like this and a situation like that, sometimes I have to go beyond using activities (such as listening, playing or talking) and rather make a deep reflection for common faith and culture to use them as a positive influence. And for that, I’d always flash back [to] the classes about personal and professional development in my mind when we worked on faith and creativity at Durham University; and also go back to the fieldwork experiences. I don’t mean to be so much detailed about what I’m doing but I only mean to stress the significance of my learning experiences in the UK and assure my gratitude.
Finally, I will make a wish to have the opportunity to meet and greet you all face to face, if I get the chance to attend the graduation ceremony in January, and if I ever get alive from this situation. We are all following up with the news at the moment as there are some news about a possible ceasefire. We all need this ceasefire as the number of losses in people has raised to 100 killed, and more than 854 injured – most of them are children- according to the ministry of health and to the newspapers.
I’ll leave you with SOME pictures (Warning: it includes pictures for distorted, dead, and injured children)
Best Regards and good luck in your valuable work,
Summer Abu Zayed’